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Effects of information technologies, department characteristics and individual roles on improving knowledge sharing visibility: a qualitative case study

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Abstract:

Knowledge sharing visibility (KSV) is a critical environmental factor which can reduce social loafing in knowledge sharing (KS). This is especially true in ICT-based KS in learning organisations. As such, it is imperative that we better understand how to design technology enabled knowledge management systems (KMS) to support high KSV. This article examines the impact of knowledge management technology functions (e.g. tracking, knowledge storing) on KSV through qualitative analysis of 16 semi-structured interviews with participants in a Chinese company. Impact and implications of use for their existing KMS are examined. This article also examined the effects of department characteristics (i.e. group size and task characteristics) and individual roles (i.e. employee positions) on the IT–KSV relationship. Results encourage applied statistical, tracking, knowledge distribution and knowledge storing functions for monitoring explicit KS, and suggest integration of visualised knowledge maps with communication tools (e.g. Instant Messenger (IM)) to support visibility for implicit KS. Findings also suggest that KM technologies are more salient on improving KSV in large department with routine tasks, and that low-level employees may have more positive attitude on accepting communication tools on sharing knowledge. Extension to use of Web 2.0 technologies (e.g. weblogs) in KMS is also explored.

Keywords: IT functions; case study; department characteristics; knowledge management systems; knowledge sharing visibility; social loafing

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0144929X.2012.687770

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Policy and Management/Center for Innovation and Development, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China 2: Department of Information Systems,City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 3: Department of Management Science and Engineering,School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China

Publication date: 2012-11-01

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